AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj on Friday claimed that the Centre was planning to cut a whopping 17,000 trees in the national capital as part of its redevelopment plan, even as the party mulls a Chipko movement-like protest against the move. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had on Thursday said 14,031 trees would be cut out of the existing 21,040 trees for the redevelopment of seven south Delhi colonies of Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Mohammadpur, Sriniwaspuri, Kasturba Nagar and Thyagaraj Nagar.
Bharadwaj claimed that the plan involved construction of flats for politicians and bureaucrats.
On being asked whether his party would adopt a campaign similar to the popular Chipko movement, the AAP spokesperson said, “It is a good idea. We will think about it”. The Chipko movement was started in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand in 1970s by environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna, under which people embraced trees as and when efforts were made to cut them. Bharadwaj said 17,000 trees would be cut in Lutyens’ Delhi as part of the redevelopment plan with the central government planning to cut “11,000 trees in Sarojini Nagar itself”.
He also accused the Modi-led central government of failing to address the environmental safety concerns before attempting the project. “Our information is that no environmental assessment has been conducted. The Delhi government has also not been consulted as to how the needs of transport, water and sewer requirements under the redevelopment plan will be fulfilled,” the AAP chief spokesperson said.
He clarified that the ruling AAP in the city was not against the redevelopment of the south Delhi colonies, but the Centre should take the project to other places like Rohini, Dwarka, Gurugram or Noida if trees were to be cut on such a large scale. The Centre, however, had stated that the redevelopment would lead to an “increase in the green area coverage by about three times…and the compensatory plantation of trees will be done in the ratio of 1:10, thereby resulting in an enhanced tree-coverage area”.
“The re-development of the seven colonies is being done with complete adherence to environmental sustainability and green building concepts and special care and attention is being given towards retaining the maximum number of the existing trees,” it had said.